- Baidu has become the first and only company to offer
fully driverless robotaxi services to the public in China, without human drivers in the car.
- The new permits will also allow Baidu to put fully
driverless robotaxis on open roads in Chongqing and Wuhan during the daytime.
- China is the first
country in the world that allows fared fully driverless robotaxi
operation in two megacities. China's autonomous driving industry has
reached an inflection point of accelerated growth.
BEIJING, Aug. 8, 2022
/PRNewswire/ -- Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU and HKEX: 9888) ("Baidu"
or the "Company"), a leading AI company with strong internet
foundation, today announced that
the company has secured the first permits in China to offer commercial fully driverless
robotaxi services to the public on open roads. Apollo Go, Baidu's
autonomous ride-hailing service, is now authorized to collect fares
for robotaxi rides - completely without human drivers in the
car - in Chongqing and
Wuhan, two of China's largest megacities. Amid increasing
regulatory approval of the expansion of autonomous vehicles (AVs),
the permits reflect regulatory authorities' strong recognition and
trust in the strength of Baidu's autonomous driving technology.
They also mark a key turning point for the future of mobility in
China, leading to an eventual
expansion of driverless ride-hailing services to paying users
across the country.
"This is a tremendous qualitative change," said Wei Dong, Vice President and Chief Safety
Operation Officer of Baidu's Intelligent Driving Group. "Fully
driverless cars providing rides on open roads to paying customers
means we have finally come to the moment that the industry has been
longing for. We believe these permits are a key milestone on the
path to the inflection point when the industry can finally roll out
fully autonomous driving services at scale."
The permits were granted to Baidu by government agencies in
Wuhan and Chongqing's Yongchuan District. Both cities
have been pioneering new approaches to intelligent transportation
in recent years, from developing infrastructure  to
updating new regulations for AVs. Having received the permits,
Baidu will begin to provide fully driverless robotaxi services in
the designated areas in Wuhan
from 9 am to 5 pm, and Chongqing from 9:30 am
to 4:30 pm, with five Apollo 5th gen
robotaxis operating in each city. The areas of service cover 13
square kilometers in the Wuhan Economic & Technological
Development Zone, and 30 square kilometers in Chongqing's Yongchuan District.
To receive the permits, Baidu's robotaxis have undergone
multiple steps of testing and licensing, starting from testing with
a safety operator in the driving seat, to testing with a safety
operator in the passenger seat, before finally receiving
authorization to operate with no human driver or operator in the
As the only company granted such permits from two Chinese
megacities, Baidu's robotaxis come with multi-layer mechanisms to
ensure ultimate safety, including the autonomous driving system,
monitoring redundancy, remote driving capability and a robust
safety operation system, all of which are backed by a massive trove
of real-world data including a total test mileage of over 32
million kilometers (~20 million miles) driven by Baidu's AVs to
By the end of March 2022, Baidu
has ranked No.1 in the accumulative number of autonomous driving
patent applications in China,
totaling 4,000; among them, the number of global patent families
for high-level autonomous driving has exceeded 1,500, ranking first
worldwide. Having already expanded to all first-tier cities in
China, covering Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, Apollo Go has now surfaced to become
the world's largest robotaxi service provider, recently reaching
the milestone of more than one million orders.
View video of Baidu driverless robotaxi
providing service to the public on open roads
Wuhan Economic & Technological Development Zone (WHDZ) has
revamped 321 kilometers of roads for testing of AVs since 2021, of
which 106 kilometers are covered by the 5G-powered V2X
infrastructure. Chongqing has
designated an area in the Yongchuan District as a pilot zone for
autonomous driving, in which 30 robotaxis have accumulated a test
mileage of 1 million kilometers.
Founded in 2000, Baidu's mission is to make the complicated
world simpler through technology. Baidu is a leading AI company
with strong Internet foundation, trading on the NASDAQ under "BIDU"
and HKEX under "9888." One Baidu ADS represents eight Class A
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SOURCE Baidu, Inc.